Last night hundreds of East Nasties gathered on a sweltering evening to knock out the group’s signature run.   If you live in Nashville, you’ve probably seen the black and white “East Nasty” bumper stickers, and all those people have earned it by finishing The Nasty.

The Nasty is a 5.9 mile run, laced with several rolling hills and 6 “big” climbs, including, Mount Nasty, which is a relatively short, but steep ascent at mile 4.  The legend that surrounds this route has an intimidating aura and most expect the worst, but I’ve come to really enjoy the challenge and think it always makes me a better runner.

The mood after running The Nasty ranges from exhaustion to exhilaration.  Mark or Duane stand around and reward everyone with their stickers.  The big one for the first time runners, and the small circle Mount Nasty for repeat offenders.

I feel lucky to have started running in East Nashville.  The Nasty, is basically a collection of the best climbs and descents my neighborhood has to offer.  You start with a slow downhill, into a climb, then a couple blocks of flat followed by another long climb, then two short steep descents and climbs, etc…  Then you get a long, very gradual decline to prepare you for Mount Nasty.  After that, it’s down into Shelby Park, around the lake and back out with a gradual, snake climb back to Shelby Avenue.  Then, it’s down into a big valley, followed by a final climb before you turn and head home to 11th and Holly.

While Nashville is no Boulder, I think we have a great hilly/urban environments for training.  If I’m looking for a flat/fast course, the Greenway is about a half mile from my front door, but if I go any other direction, I’m bound to collide with a bunch of hills.  And the more I run hills, the more I crave them.

Last night I ran the course with John Wasky (+2) who is training for Louisville and typically ready to crush the road waskywouldin front of him.  We talked a lot about the fatigue of Ironman training and ran most of the route (plus 3.25 extra miles) with heavy legs.  What amazed me about last nights run wasn’t that I was able to plow through tired legs, but how the cross training of triathlon is making my body so resilient.  Normally my feet, hips, and knees ache after a run (and especially in the morning) but last night and today I remain cautiously optimistic that I’m turning a corner with nickle and dime pains.

I told Wasky early in the day I wasn’t putting up with any of his “Sub-7 pace BS” and for 8 miles he seemed to agree.  But as we turned onto Shelby for the second time of the night and began a long descent that transformed into a longer climb, he turned on the jets and didn’t look back.  It was all I could do to stay on his heels as he seemed to pick up speed on the hill.  We crested, and I expected a deep breath or two to turn into a jog, but he rounded the corner hard on his way home.  I tried to relax as we belted our way past a porch party full of women for the 3rd time of the night, and he wasn’t letting up.  It was a 6 block sprint to the finish and sure enough, I looked at my watch and we were dabbling in the sub-7 range.  He casually lured me to sleep then tried to break my will, but I am schooled in his shenanigans.

Great run on a humid night in Nashville, TN.  The only bad news was that it wasn’t Pint Night at Nashville Running Company.

Running in Nashville – The Nasty